Steve Pearce (politician)

For other people named Steve Pearce, see Steve Pearce (disambiguation).
Steve Pearce
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Harry Teague
In office
January 3, 2003  January 3, 2009
Preceded by Joe Skeen
Succeeded by Harry Teague
Member of the New Mexico House of Representatives
from the 62nd district
In office
Succeeded by Donald E. Bratton
Personal details
Born (1947-08-24) August 24, 1947
Lamesa, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cynthia Pearce
Residence Hobbs, New Mexico, U.S.
Alma mater New Mexico State University,
Eastern New Mexico University
Occupation Pilot, business owner
Religion Southern Baptist
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Years of service 1970–1976
Rank Captain
Unit 463rd Tactical Airlift Wing[1]
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Stevan Edward "Steve" Pearce (born August 24, 1947) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for New Mexico's 2nd congressional district since 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party. He previously held the seat from 2003 to 2009 and was an Assistant Minority Whip.

He is currently the only Republican in the New Mexico Congressional Delegation.

Early life, education, and business career

Pearce was born in Lamesa in Dawson County in west Texas but reared in Hobbs, New Mexico, where he currently resides with his wife, Cynthia. He attended college at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, having earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics. Afterward, he received a Master of Business Administration from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. While at New Mexico State University, Pearce was elected president of the student body.

He served in the Vietnam War as a C-130 pilot in the United States Air Force.[1] Pearce flew over 518 hours of combat flight and 77 hours of combat support. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medals, as well as seven other military medals and four exceptional service awards. Upon returning to the United States, Pearce was assigned to the Strategic Air Command at Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of Captain.[2]

Pearce and his wife owned and operated Lea Fishing Tools, an oilfield services company in Hobbs, New Mexico, until they sold the business in 2003 to Key Energy Services for $12 million.[3]

New Mexico House of Representatives


Pearce was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 1996 and re-elected in 1998, both times unopposed.[4]

Committee assignments

He was elected as Republican Caucus Chairman and served on the Appropriations Committee.[2]

2000 U.S. Senate election

He ran for the United States Senate in the seat held by longtime incumbent Democrat Jeff Bingaman. He lost in the Republican primary to former third district U.S. Congressman Bill Redmond 60% to 22%.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives



Eleven term incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Joe Skeen decided to retire. In the Republican primary, Pearce ran and won the five candidate field with a plurality of 35%. His closest challenger was rancher and businessman Edward R. Tinsley, owner of the K-Bob's Steakhouse, who got 27%.[6] Coincidentally, both Pearce and Tinsley were reared in the small West Texas city of Lamesa in Dawson County. In the general election, Pearce defeated Democratic State Senator John Arthur Smith 56% to 44%.[7]


Pearce won re-election to a second term against Democratic State Representative Gary King 60% to 40%.[8]


Pearce won re-election to a third term against Democratic pastor Al Kissling 59% to 40%.[9]


Pearce ran for the open Senate seat of retiring six term Republican US Senator Pete Domenici. He did not run for reelection to the 2nd District, making New Mexico's 2nd District an open seat race. Democratic business owner Harry Teague defeated Republican restaurateur Edward R. Tinsley 56% to 44%. [10]


On August 1, 2009, Pearce announced his intention to take back his former congressional seat. On June 1, 2010, he won the Republican primary without any serious challengers. He was endorsed in the race by former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.[11] He drew criticism from local media after an event in Los Lunas where he refused to say whether he believes Barack Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen.[12][13]

Pearce defeated incumbent Democrat Harry Teague 55% to 45%.[14][15]


Pearce won reelection for a 5th term to Congress and 2nd consecutive term in 2012. He defeated Democratic former educator Evelyn Madrid Erhard 59% to 41%.[16] During the campaign, Pearce's largest donors were Mack Energy Corporation and Yates Petroleum. Pearce received $209,600 from the oil and gas sector during the campaign cycle.[17]



In 2005, Pearce was accused of having plagiarized articles from think tanks like the Heritage Foundation.[18] The articles were published under Pearce's name in small papers throughout New Mexico. His press secretary, Jim Burns, admitted to having plagiarized the articles himself without Pearce's knowledge, and quickly resigned.[19]

Accomplishments in 112th Congress
Drilling in Otero Mesa

Pearce has been a long-time advocate of oil and gas drilling in Otero Mesa.[20][21]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

2008 U.S. Senate election

On October 16, 2007, Pearce announced he would run for the Republican nomination to replace Pete Domenici in the U.S. Senate.

Fellow Republican Representative Heather Wilson had previously declared her candidacy in that race.[23] In late October 2007, Pearce made 130,000 automated phone calls to justify his opposition to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill that would have provided health benefit to children, which the Wilson campaign claimed "Pearce violated House ethics by urging those he called to contact him through his official, non-campaign phone number or check out his official, non-campaign Web site."[24][25]

In March 2008, Pearce garnered 55% of the vote at the Republican pre-primary nominating convention.[26] He narrowly won the June 3, 2008 Republican primary.

Pearce ran against U.S. Congressman Tom Udall who represented New Mexico's 3rd congressional district but lost to him in the general election, 61% to 39%.

Personal life

Pearce has been married to his wife Cynthia for over 20 years. In 2013, Pearce published a memoir called Just Fly the Plane, Stupid!. It received attention because Pearce controversially wrote in the memoir that a wife should "voluntarily submit" to her husband, just as the husband should "lovingly lead and sacrifice".[27]

Pearce attends Taylor Memorial Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in Hobbs.[28]


  1. 1 2 "Steve Military Service | Pearce for Congress". Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  2. 1 2 "Full Biography | Congressman Steve Pearce". Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  3. Singer, Paul (April 29, 2008). "Pearce Made Millions on Sale". Roll Call. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  4. "NM State House 62 Race – Nov 03, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  5. "NM US Senate- R Primary Race – Jun 06, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  6. "NM District 02 – R Primary Race – Jun 04, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  7. "NM District 2 Race – Nov 05, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  8. "NM District 2 Race – Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  9. "NM – District 02 Race – Nov 07, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  10. "New Mexico – Election Results 2008 – The New York Times". 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  11. "Palin backs Pearce in New Mexico". Time. 2010-10-06.
  12. "Pearce camp refuses to say Obama is a natural-born US citizen". New Mexico Independent. 2010-10-07.
  13. "Earth to Pearce: Obama is a natural-born US citizen". New Mexico Politics. 2010-10-07.
  14. "NM – District 02 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  15. Reichbach, Matthew (2010-07-15). "Pearce outraises Teague in second quarter". New Mexico Independent. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
  16. "New Mexico General Election : November 6, 2012". Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  17. "; Steve Pearce". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  18. "Controversy Erupts Over Congressman's Plagiarized "Article"". Socorro News. 2005-04-27. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  19. "New Mexico's Pearce on quest to build reputation as 'consistent' : National-World : Albuquerque Tribune". 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  20. Romo, Rene (August 6, 2004). "Candidates Debate Otero Mesa Drilling". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  21. Hansen, Heather (August 17, 2011). "The monumental fight over Otero Mesa". High Country News. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  22. Bialik, Carl; Bycoffe, Aaron (25 September 2015). "The Hard-Line Republicans Who Pushed John Boehner Out". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  23. "Pearce Will Run for Senate". Albuquerque Journal. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
  24. "Pearce calls voters, Wilson cries foul". KOB. 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
  25. "Senate hopefuls don't inspire". Alamogordo Daily News. October 31, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
  26. Archived April 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. Blake, Aaron (22 January 2014). "GOP congressman's book: 'The wife is to voluntarily submit' to her husband". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  28. Staff (5 January 2011). "Ten Southern Baptists sworn in as new reps.". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harry Teague
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 2nd congressional district

Preceded by
Joe Skeen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 2nd congressional district

January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2009
Succeeded by
Harry Teague
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Albio Sires
D-New Jersey
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Gus Bilirakis
Party political offices
Preceded by
Pete Domenici
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Mexico
Succeeded by
Allen Weh
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